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    Re: News from the mobile navigation world
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2012 Oct 4, 11:27 -0700

    You wrote:
    "That is good news on the GLONASS sats, maybe it is time for a new phone."

    It's interesting that it's not even a selling point. If you go the Wikipedia article on GLONASS and visit the "Receivers" section, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLONASS#Receivers, you'll see that most of the latest Smartphones and tablets now have GLONASS capability. It just "comes with the chips". The big benefit is that there are now twice as many satellites for a receiver to choose from. In a marginal location, like under trees or in an urban area, this means you're more likely to get a fast fix. It all happens "under the hood". There's no switch to flip to activate GLONASS functionality.

    You asked:
    "Does the new clock better align Google Sky Map with the stars? The sky map on my "old" Android always appears offset. "

    No, a few seconds would make no difference at all. Remember: 4 seconds difference corresponds to one minute of arc difference in orientation, or one nautical mile change in position for an observer at the equator --roughly 3/4 of a nautical mile at mid-latitudes. Similarly a few miles difference would not visibly affect a hand-held pointer like this, which means that there's no need to turn on GPS when using this app (cell tower baased positioning is good enough in almost every case). The offset you're referring to probably means the built-in compass needs to be reset. It should be reset every time you use a direction-sensitive app like Google Sky Map. Just wave the device around in a figure eight pattern or any similar path that samples a lot of directions. The chipset that reads the compass automatically re-aligns it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of variability in the compass capability among different devices. Many are spot on. Some are consistently rotated 10 or 20 degrees from the true directions. So it's also possible that yours will always be somewhat offset.


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